Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas has rung the changes for tonight’s Absa Premiership clash against Free State Stars in Bethlehem.
Solinas has refreshed the team due to the short turnaround from the one that started in the 4-1 demolition of Cape Town City at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
There is a welcome return to action for George Maluleka and Hendrick Ekstein in midfield, with Lebogang Manyama taking a breather, while Kgotso Moleko comes in for Ramahlwe Mphahlele at right back.
Another change at the back sees new signing Mario Booysen – who joined from Ajax Cape Town – shore up the defence in place of Daniel Cardoso.
A surprising choice upfront sees Venezuelan striker Gustavo Paez get the nod for the injured Leonardo Castro.
The replacement during the City match, Bernard Parker, is not even on the bench, with Ryan Moon the back-up substitute.
Another new signing from Madagascar, midfielder Andriamirado ‘Dax’ Andrianarimanana, is on the bench as well.
“We returned to Chiefs Village from Cape Town to have a regeneration session on Sunday. And on Monday we only worked on some tactical preparations, before travelling to the Free State,” Solinas told the Chiefs website.
“The commitment is high and the concentration is excellent. I am happy with the players’ effort in the training sessions.
“Free State Stars are a difficult side and we will respect them. The game will be special, as playing against my former club in their backyard will be emotional.
“Stars introduced me to South African football, so it can’t be business as usual. I support them when they play against other teams.
“We need to win at home and away. We will use the same philosophy. We want to dominate and play well. We will play attacking football.”
Kickoff is at 7.30pm at Goble Park.
Kaizer Chiefs Team
Itumeleng Khune (captain), Godfrey Walusimbi, Siyabonga Ngezana, Mario Booysen, Kgotso Moleko, Willard Katsande, George Maluleka, Hendrick Ekstein, Philani Zulu, Gustavo Paez, Khama Billiat.
Substitutes: Virgil Vries, Teenage Hadebe, Ryan Moon, Bhongolethu Jayiya, Kabelo Mahlasela, Khotso Malope, Andriamirado ‘Dax’ Andrianarimanana.@ashfakmohamed